I made a rare trip to Powell’s City of Books yesterday. This used to be one of my favorite hang-outs, but as I’ve learned to love frugality and to hate clutter, my book spending has plummeted. As a result, I spend much less time in book stores. I use the public library instead.

Still, sometimes I allow myself to buy new books. Yesterday I picked up a stack of personal finance titles to review during the coming months, including:

Though I looked at several comics compilations, I exercised willpower and didn’t actually buy any of them. When I went to the register to pay for my books, the checker gave me a wry smile. He tapped Work Less, Live More with his finger and said, “Sounds good to me.”

“Yeah,” I said, smiling in return.

He nodded and continued. “I’ve got a stock tip for you,” he said.

“Oh yeah? What’s that?” I asked.

Trader Joe’s,” he said.

“Trader Joe’s? Are they even public?” I’d never heard of anyone buying stock in the company.

“Not yet,” he said. “But they’re bound to be someday. You can’t lose. People love them. And they seem to be everywhere. I’d get in on the ground floor of that.”

I made listening noises and smiled. Stock tips in book stores are worth what you pay for them. It’s true that people love Trader Joe’s — I love them too — but I don’t know if an IPO would be considered the “ground floor”. And there’s no guarantee that purchasing Trader Joe’s stock would actually be a profitable decision. There are too many other factors.

“There you go,” the checker said as he handed me my receipt. “Thanks for coming in today. And good luck with your millionaire schemes.”

My millionaire schemes? All I’d done was ask some questions. I wished I had time to point out that my books weren’t about “schemes”, and weren’t even necessarily about becoming a millionaire. I bought them because I thought they’d contain advice on smart personal finance. I wasn’t the one handing out hot stock tips.

“People do love Trader Joe’s,” Kris said when I told her this story. “Some people at work, all they eat is Trader Joe’s!”


Maybe when Trader Joe’s goes public, I should consider buying stock in the company. Maybe.

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